More powerful than nuclear fission

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Imagine being employed at a nuclear power plant.

Maybe you serve in administration or prepare food in the employee cafeteria, or manage safety checks.  Whatever your role, I imagine you are hyper aware of the magnitude of power being produced, contained and directed in your work place.

But do you actually FEEL all that power as you walk about during your shift?  Most likely not, but you certainly believe it exists and respect it.

We, as believers, actually house a greater force than the sum of all nuclear power available to our world.  His name is God and he is in us through his spirit.

Some of us feel bothered that we don’t always FEEL or sense God’s presence or power with or within us. Maybe we read of experiences of some Bible characters and envy them. For my friends and family members who long to encounter God in that more tangible way, I plead with the Lord, that until they do, they may walk by faith, trusting in God’s love and stockpiled power and provision for them. 

Not hearing personally from God can feel dark and heavy.  Job certainly was a man who despaired ever of hearing from the God he trusted.

Do you know a fellow believer who moves in and out of this kind of shadowy fear, because of oppressing thoughts? Someone who struggles to REST in the God-given power received when God transferred OUT of the gloomy Kingdom of Isolating Fear and Shame and into the Kingdom of Light, Hope and Family Belonging?

Pastor Scotty Smith calls these places where some dwell ‘waterless pits of gloom’.

There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, Prisoners in misery and chains….in misery…..Psalm 107:10 NASB 1995

But God be praised, Jesus came to set them and us FREE!

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, Luke 4:18 NLT

 Just as those in the nuclear power industry do not doubt but rather respect the energy at their disposal, so too WE should rest in the sure knowledge of God’s power available to us by faith through his spirit given to us.

Oh, dear friends, I pray that this Easter Sunday, all of us may feel the glory of a new kind of shade and light.  Not a heavy, gloomy oppressive shadow but a restful, refreshing shade and an energizing, restorative light.

Linger here in this place of acceptance and accept the invitation to fellowship with Jesus in his banquet house.

From Song of Solomon 2:3b-4, here are the lyrics for Bairstow’s choral peace that will feed your soul and heart.

 I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

YouTube link to one short rendition

The promise of beauty deceived me

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Decrepit tulips

The tulips never even opened.  Instead, they started to decay from the moment I placed them in water. The promise of their beauty on display at Target deceived me

I keep flowers all around the house.  This vase is sitting on my bathroom sink. Nearby on Mike’s sink, in contrast, sit some lovely Alstroemeria boasting in their fairness. But somehow the ugliness of the tulips speaks a louder message of truth and I am loathe to toss them.

I sense that I need to embrace the reality that these flowers represent.  This world, this Earth 1.0, IS decrepit, a crumbling place.  No amount of make-up or human enhancements can change this reality.  There IS a curse.

It’s always winter in Narnia – the power of the White Witch reigns. A fact, akin to my decaying tulips.

But just as C.S. Lewis penned, there IS a stronger Truth, an ultimate Power that is at work.  Aslan is coming and a warming, colorful spring heralds this Hope.

Resurrection Sunday, Easter, signals the same for us. A forever summer is drawing nearer. It’s different from summers we have known. Given our few senses, is it even a wonder that we CAN’T imagine a SUPERIOR-summer?

John, guided by the Spirit of God wrote in Revelation 21: 1-4: 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

This renovated, remodeled, new and best of all possible Earths will be Beauty par excellence because the King of Beauty, the LORD Himself will be present with us forever to enjoy.

Since mid-February I have begun to daydream more about this promised future.  I’m beginning to look forward to it.

In the meantime, I thank God for glimpses of beauty, for tastes of goodness here on Earth 1.0. They DO cheer me and lift my spirits. No denying that.  Still, I am sobered by dying reality. A reality that hints at an everlasting Beauty but a reality that cannot hide decay.  Like make-up on a cadaver being prepared for a funeral home viewing.  I’m not fooled. No one is, if they are honest with themselves.

So, this past week, I have learned much from my aborted tulips.  By grace, because of the gift of God’s Word, I know Truth. Jesus.  Though appearing ‘ugly as sin’ because He was MADE to be sin, He was and is and will always Beautiful.

And we believers who, along with my tulips, are decaying, will one day change out our outer layer for new bodies, a final and permanent version 2.0, supernaturally perfect and perpetual.

Aren’t you glad that the best is yet to be?

 

 

 

 

 

Why do you trust Christianity? (aka: Why are you a Christian?)

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The only reason to be a Christian or to trust Christianity as a worldview is…

..if it’s TRUE!

Truth is a cross

The God of the universe is a ‘reasonable’ God.  That means He created EVERYTHING in a manner that can be attested to rationally (i.e. backed up with reasons or evidence), using His life-generating ‘logical’ Word.

In fact, God says in Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lordthough your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 

So on this Easter Sunday, I want to pass on what I am learning to articulate, 4 simple facts that even agnostic New Testament scholars and quite a few atheists agree on.  Where disputes and disagreements lie are in the interpretations of the facts.

Being equipped with ‘just the facts, ma’am’, can give you confidence when you find yourself with someone who doesn’t know the truth about Jesus.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Here is what is past dispute and agreed upon by most reputable scholars, no matter their faith positions:

 

 

 

 

  • Jesus of Nazareth was put to death by crucifixion and laid in a tomb 
  • The tomb was discovered empty 2 days later
  • His disciples believed they had seen the risen, physical Jesus after his death
  • These disciples dramatically changed from cowering, demoralized followers to energized, bold and confident men and women who started a world-wide Christian movement that continues to endure and to grow both stronger and more numerous 2000+ years later

The evidence that backs up these facts comes NOT just from the Gospel accounts and letters written by Jesus’ earliest followers, but also from a-sympathetic historians, (that is to say, from those who didn’t have a dog in the race!)

To give you further confidence when sharing these 4 simple and incontrovertible facts, you only need to know ONE thing more.  Claims are most solid when they can be falsified.

So what would quickly falsify Christianity?

Empty tomb

 

 

 

Produce the body!

That’s all it would take to disprove and shut down the claims of these followers.  And you had better believe it, that the Romans AND the Jewish leaders did all they could to find the dead Galilean.

So as you celebrate and think about the living Savior, be confident, that you can trust the claims of the Bible.  Jesus IS (present tense) the truth, the light and the life.

Jesus' tomb is empty, unlike others

 

Feed on this as we move closer to Easter

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Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord.  Ephesians 5:19 (Amplified) 

Here is a mid-week suggestion for you to feed your soul with some good music.  Graham Cochrane from The Recording Revolution just released his first solo album in 10 years.  You can download the 5 songs at the link below.

The Tree Album Cover

 

 

 

 

 

The lyrics are a synthesis of his theological development in his 20s  and into his early 30s (the album was released on his birthday, 31 Mar 2014).  His melodies and accompanying instrumental harmonies do not overpower the vocals, so the words are easy to comprehend.

Since his senior capstone music project at James Madison University when he recorded his first original solo album in a campus studio, there have been 2 A Cappella Christmas albums  and 7 Aletheia Church albums.

My favorites are the 1st and 3rd songs.

Bon appétit!

Download music here

 

Graham with studio behind him

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